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IBM Mayflower: Autonomous Transatlantic Voyage

Embarking on a historic journey, the fully autonomous IBM Mayflower, a trimaran spanning 15 x 6.2 meters and crafted from carbon and aluminum composites, set sail from Plymouth, UK, on June 15th, destined to drop anchor in Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA, in approximately three weeks.

This remarkable drone ship, named after its distant predecessor that traversed the same ocean route in 1620, follows in the wake of history. Just as the British merchant sailing ship Mayflower ferried a group of pilgrim settlers to New England 400 years ago, its modern namesake faces an identical test of endurance and innovation.

The unprecedented transatlantic crossing is meticulously monitored from a command center in Plymouth, UK, leveraging over fifty onboard sensors, six IBM AI Vision cameras, and an IBM deep learning system. These advanced technologies work in tandem to enable the drone to navigate autonomously, avoiding obstacles while adhering to stringent shipping regulations. Driving the data processing onboard is the powerful IBM Power Systems AC922 computer.

In lieu of a human crew, the Mayflower carries 700 kilograms of scientific equipment, including an array of sensors such as acoustic and temperature monitors, alongside devices for water and air sampling. These instruments provide invaluable insights into oceanic conditions, from chemical composition to wave structures and plastic pollution levels, as well as the conservation of marine life.

Furthermore, the technological innovations forged during this pioneering voyage promise applications beyond maritime endeavors. From fisheries management to oil and gas exploration, telecommunications to defense and security, the advancements borne from this expedition are poised to revolutionize various industries.

With a live webcam affixed onboard, internet users worldwide can virtually embark on the IBM Mayflower in real time, immersing themselves in this historic passage and contributing to the unfolding narrative of human ingenuity and exploration. Join us as we chart a course into the future, propelled by innovation and a spirit of adventure aboard the autonomous marvel, IBM Mayflower.

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